Euro 2024: the Blues' pet peeves, real potential but no more trophies, which are the Netherlands, opponents of the France team ?

Euro 2024: the Blues' pet peeves, real potential but no more trophies, which are the Netherlands, opponents of the France team ?

Cody Gakpo will be one to watch. MAXPPP – ROBERT GHEMENT

Accustomed to being on the road to the French team, the Oranjes have been looking for each other for years. But their quarter-final at the last World Cup is also an indicator of performance before facing the Blues, Friday June 21 in Leipzig, during the second match of Group D.

First match: a success and absences which are visible

Winners of Poland (2-1) last Sunday, the Netherlands got off to an ideal start. On paper because the meeting was not easy. Trailing from the 16th minute, the Oranjes certainly equalized quickly through Gakpo (29th). But they had to wait until the 83rd minute and Weghorst's decisive entry into play to win.

Also read: Trailing, the Netherlands overthrow Poland at the end of the match in the France group

Until then, the Poles had gained confidence and managed to find spaces by getting the best of a Batavian environment far from being sovereign. The packages of De Jong (Barça) and Koopmeiners (Atalanta) are visible and create a real fault.

If the Dutch also messed up against Poland, the performances of the offensive players Depay or Simmons did not meet expectations. Enough to ask questions about the ability to create danger and defend against the Blues' counterattacks, especially for a rearguard with which Ronald Koeman has long fumbled between a three or four system.

In short, if the potential is undeniable, with Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), Dumfries (Inter) or Gakpo (Liverpool), without forgetting Van Dijk (Liverpool) and Aké (Manchester City), the Netherlands are still looking for each other.

Netherlands – France: a poster far from being unprecedented

The poster between the Netherlands and France has punctuated the history of the two nations on numerous occasions: this Friday, it will be the 31st time that the two nations meet ;will face a friendly disputed on May 10, 1908 in Rotterdam and overflown by the Dutch (4-1).

In the end, the Tricolores dominate direct confrontations with 15 victories. Duels ended in draws only four times, including three 0-0. One of them having sealed the first meeting in a Euro, in 1996, before penalties won by Zidane and his gang to qualify for the semi-final (0-0, tab 5-4 ).

Since then, the last two face-to-face meetings in the European Championships have resulted in Batavian successes, each time in the group stage. The first in 2000, during a "hairdressers" Blues lost 3-2. The second in 2008, on the occasion of a second day largely mastered by the Batavians (4-1) and heralding the elimination of Domenech's men.

Finally, the two countries were already in the same group during qualifying for Euro 2024. The French team dominated both matches: 4-0 at the Stadium of France, 2-1 in Amsterdam, respectively in March and October 2023, each time with a double from Kylian Mbappé.

What inspired this comment to the coach, Ronald Koeman: "It’s difficult for everyone, but I would have preferred not to play France, he said after the draw. Perhaps France would also have preferred not to play the Netherlands because we have often played against them, and it’s good to have had ;other very strong opponents. But we have to accept it."

An extended trophy quest

1988. The Netherlands, an immense football nation, from Johan Cruyff to Robin Van Persie, including Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Clarence Seedorf, has only one trophy: the Euro 1988, won in West Germany by Ronald Koeman, then defender, and his partners thanks to a legendary goal, a volley from Van Basten to crucify the Soviet Union (2-0).

An anomaly that the Orange cannot put an end to. In the 21st century, they came close with a final at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, then a semi-final in Brazil in 2014. Problem, followed by two absences from the final stages, at Euro 2016 and at the 2018 World Cup. But the World Cup in Qatar, finished in the quarter-finals, gave a semblance of revival.

Argentina, an "enemy" common

"Que miras bobo ?" ("Qu’is- what you look at stupid ?") Lionel Messi's phrase has become cult. She targeted Wout Weghorst, a Dutch striker who came to see him after their quarter-final at the 2022 World Cup. A meeting during which the Netherlands experienced the disappointment of a defeat on penalties before France. goal against the Albiceleste (2-2, 4-3 tab).

Beyond the result, the duel turned out to be very tense with a total of 18 cards, including one red, distributed. An aggressiveness perceptible at the end of the fateful session, when the Argentinians, including the always very fair-play Paredes, openly upset the Dutch.

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